Still sparkling and a giveaway!

The house is still full of little glittery bits as I have been finishing off the last of the ornaments. Every time I cut up the glittery ribbons some falls on the carpet and despite my best efforts to vacuum it up I see little glittery bits in the carpets up the stairs and in the bedroom. It is all very festive so I don’t mind.

Xmas decs Dec 1

I have made two stockings from Jenny of Elefantz’s pattern from last year. This is not currently on sale as was one of her last monthly stitching clubs. I still need to get around to making some of these filled with lavender as they would look great in Liberty with some of my vintage lace stash on them.These are for my Mum and Aunt.

The cousins will have pine cones this year, I have really enjoyed going back to these and have made some for other friends as well. There is a good tutorial here on to how to make them and they are a very therapeutic make in front of the TV.  I pin on little star sequins at the top as this stops the upper ribbons from lifting off and adds a bit of bling.

Xmas decs Dec 6

I have almost run out of Christmas ribbons. I did manage to find this gorgeous holly one at my local craft shop but this was the last of the pink and gold poinsettia design below which is so pretty.The ribbon flowers on the top of one of them in the picture above come from this seller on Ebay and come in lots of different colours, not just Christmas ones.

Xmas decs Dec 11

Xmas decs Dec 16

Xmas decs Dec 17

I still have a bit of silver and blue ribbon and lots of pearl pins so I have been making some alternative colours as well.I have so many little sequins from when I used to cross stitch cards that I have been using up like these pearly ones here.

I am not putting up my tree this year, I know that is a very unusual thing for a Christmas ornament fan like me to say but there is only me here and I am leaving on the 21st so would not be around to take it down so although I will be decorating it will be smaller scale this year. I will be helping to decorate the Wool and Wine tree at our local church’s tree festival this Friday so that will be lovely.

It has been lovely seeing all the ever growing piles of ornaments, I never get tired of making them and have lots of ideas of new types for next year.I think I have finished now although when I have finished the gifts I may well go back to them and start on the making for 2020, I was a little ahead of myself this year as I had carried on in January and it does help. I have finally started making the gift for Ava, I am making felt dinosaurs and they are so cute! Hopefully I will have them finished by next weekend so that I can post pictures for you.

Finally the giveaway. It is my blogaversary again – 12 whole years on Weds so I thought since I am organised and have some time before Christmas to sort things I would offer an ornament as a prize this year. All you have to do is like or comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning. I will pick the winner on the 15th Dec which gives me chance to pick one of my recent makes and post the ornament out.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, I have so enjoyed doing this for the last 12 years, as well as it being fantastic way of me recording what I do and reminding me when I have forgotten where I found things  I really enjoy interacting with all of you through it so thank you all for your continued support.

Until next time, take care and thanks for visiting, off to stitch more spots on a stegosaurus!

 

 

It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas ….

Thankfully the ornament production is well under way now, inspired by our little Wool and Wine workshop session last weekend I have been making lots and lots of things this week so am actually now ahead of myself in terms of what I need which is great.

Part of the reason that I have made extra is so that some can go to our Wool and Wine tree at the local Christmas tree festival in the village church but also because I just love making them. They are so sparkly and pretty and fill my little heart with joy 🙂

Xmas baubles Nov 4

These three all use a similar colourway and the same type of finishing with this very ornate gold braid around the centre. I love these ribbons, so much velvet and satin loveliness!The embellishments are mainly jewelry making supplies and a variety of different types of beads which I bought from Ebay .

 

The next set are more muted but still very gorgeous, sadly I am running out of these ribbons and will have to source more. I think the green one originally came from Tesco but I must have had it for about 10 years.

Xmas baubles Nov 9

 

There are several Youtube videos of how to make these and you can use either fabric squares or ribbon but one of the best sources of information and inspiration is The Ornament Girl, if you sign up to her site she will send you tutorial links by e-mail.

Rosemari, Sarah and Debbie made the baubles as well at our crafting session, I forgot to get a picture of Sarah’s which was a gorgeous blue and silver one but here is Debbie’s ribbon bauble and Rosemari’s silver fabric one. The fabric version comes from Decorations to Dazzle by Springwood House Designs.

Edited to add: The Ornament Girl has just offered a freebie PDF book on how to make these fabric baubles with an included template – follow this link for more details.

Xmas baubles Nov 1

Xmas baubles Nov 3

I have also made one pine cone so far, again from Springwood House Designs, this design was originally a kit. I just kept adding more and more fabric to this one so it has so many layers! I have been struggling to find any long gold topped pins but have lots of pearl ones so thought I would use one of those and think that it looks good.

Xmas baubles Nov 14

Xmas baubles Nov 15

Xmas baubles Nov 16

I was sorting out some of my ornaments to use for our group tree and came across a little knitted stocking that I made lots of about 6 years ago. They are so cute so I made two more this week. A lovely quick knit from Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits , this is a free pattern from her and you can put so many variations in in terms of contrast toe and heel colour.

Xmas baubles Nov 17

Xmas baubles Nov 18

Xmas baubles Nov 19

I think the reindeer head buttons were originally bought from a craft fair but you can find similar ones on Ebay here .

I love these multicoloured versions of the stockings from Miyayo on Ravelry which I found while searching for other knitted ornament patterns. These would make a lovely Advent Calendar as well and you can use any Fair Isle or cross stitch pattern for the design that fits in with the 27 stitch count.

Mini-Knitted-Christmas-Socks-Pattern-550x413

I have still got a few more ornaments that I want to make and also have some presents to make. There will hopefully be some felty cuteness of a new sort coming soon for my great-niece Ava, maybe I will get a start on that this weekend.

Hope all your pre-Christmas craftiness is coming all well and have a good week ahead. Thanks for visiting.

 

Home from home

As you know I love camping and last week I had an extra special trip because I went away with my sister, Jacky, in her camper van to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. I have been looking at camper van videos on Youtube constantly for the last few years as I am hoping to buy one when I retire (after learning to drive of course!) so I was very excited to be staying in one.

Dales camper van 5

The van is a custom conversion which was made for her by the previous company she bought a van from and is based on a standard van with a fitted out interior.

Dales camper van 3

There is a small seating area, with table at the entrance and then a kitchen and storage area with fitted units and a double bed across the width of the van with lots of storage underneath.It has a working sink and also has a portaloo so it was real luxury compared to being in a tent 🙂

Jacky is an experienced van owner, this being her fourth one, but she had not done a lot of camping in it since getting it in August as she had mostly used it for festivals. This was also a test of how it would work with two people and the conversion of the living area for a single bed. It was lovely to see the cushion I made for her in situ as well.

Dales camper van 1

We stayed at a beautifully located campsite, Woodend Farm , just outside the village of Austwick in the Dales.Below are the views from our pitch, we also had electric hook up so had lights and heating! Real luxury 🙂

Dales camper van 4

Dales camper van 6

Dales camper van 2

I can heartily recommend the site as it was very well maintained with amazing views across the valley and a little stream running through it. It would be great for kids to play in the summer as there was lots of space and being a working farm there were lots of sheep. The whole of the Dales is covered in sheep in wonderful dry stone walled fields so I felt very at home.

Dales sheep 1

Dales sheep 2

It is an area I have visited before, we camped there quite a few times when the children were young but I have not been for about 15 years. The weather was brilliant, we had three days of sunshine and so were able to go for lots of walks, mainly to see waterfalls as we both love those.

Dales waterfalls 12

Dales 6

Gordale Scar was our first trip, the gorge leading up the waterfall is really beautiful with impressively large rock walls and a babbling stream which leads into a cleft in the rock where a waterfall tumbles down.

There were lots of adventurous people climbing up it, Jacky went much nearer than I did and you can see her in the middle picture. I am have not done much off road walking in the last year due to the arthritis and I didn’t want to fall.

Dales waterfalls 8

Dales waterfalls 9

Dales waterfalls 13

The views were just stunning, couldn’t believe that the weather was so good. We even stopped and had ice cream at the little refreshment van on the way out it was that lovely.

Dales waterfalls 11

Dales waterfalls 11

That afternoon we went to Malham Tarn, owned by the National Trust as Marsden Moor is, and very similar in scenery to our local reservoirs. We saw a little deer there in among the trees and lots more sheep.

Dales 13

Dales 12

The next day we went to Stainforth Force, another impressive, though lower waterfall where I did manage to slip on these rocks and fall into the shallow bit on the bank in the picture below.

Dales waterfalls 7

Dales waterfalls 6

Dales waterfalls 5

Not too injured but very wet we spent some time in a cafe at the nearby Langcliffe Park caravan site drying off and had a little wander admiring the vans and their beautiful views across the valley.

Dales 1

Dales 2

Dales 3

One of my early retirement plans before buying the house in Spain was to live in a static caravan and I just love them. I may end up buying one yet, so many lovely reminders of childhood holidays and nowadays they are very luxurious.

After going back to the van and changing (one of the advantages of having your house with you!) we climbed up the hill to Catrigg Force. The path took a bit of finding and it was a steep climb but well worth it as the waterfall is located in a wonderful glade and comes crashing down from the moor above into a deep chasm. This time I stayed safely above the rocks while Jacky went exploring!

Dales waterfalls 4

Dales waterfalls 1

Dales waterfalls 2

Dales waterfalls 3

A really brilliant break, it was lovely to spend time with my sister and we both really appreciated the time away from work. She is a primary school teacher and works very long hours in a school with lots of challenges so it was great to just unwind, go on lovely walks, sit and play cards and games in the van at night and generally enjoy life. There were some beautiful sunsets and skies and we just loved all of the gorgeous walls with their moss cladding.

Dales 5

Dales 7

Dales 4

It has been a very cold and wet week here, as for most of the country, so I have spent a large majority of the time very damp as I have started doing my placement visits. Much as I enjoy this part of my job standing at freezing bus stops is not fun so I have appreciated working from home today in the warm and dry.

I am hosting a Christmas ornament making session on Sunday for the Wool and Wine group which will allow me to finish off a couple of things. Despite my best efforts I am still going to be rushing to finish everything in time, thank goodness I made some ornaments in Jan.

I hope that you have a good weekend ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Things that you never knew existed

The internet is amazing isn’t it? All the wonderful things you can find out about. I am old enough to remember life without it and the wonder of all of these web sites and blogs that people have made that I so enjoy.

While I was searching for inspiration for my 1940s costume earlier in the year I came across a blog where someone was making their own costumes, but for dolls. At first I thought that it was a Barbie but she looked different and that is how I discovered the Gene Marshall dolls range.

These dolls are larger than Barbie and designed for adult collectors and there is a whole world out there of people making costumes and accessories based on fashion from the 40s, 50s and 60s. There are some amazing outfits being created and some very talented people making them.

One of the first sites I found was The Couture Touch with amazing outfits such as this one. There are some lovely hat ideas on here and some tutorials.Picture from Couture Touch website.

Gene Marshall madra_lord_1940s

That led me to Daveland’s site, he does official photography for the amazing Sandra Stillwell creations pictured here and all of these beautiful pictures made me want to know more about these miniature fashions. All pictures from his website.

This one is amazing with the beautiful embroidery and beading on it.

Gene Marshall doll 1

Gene Marshall doll 4

This dress would be quite easy to make from the pattern I used for the black and gold gowns in my last post and I have a sleeve option in one of the other patterns. Since I am trying to use up stash it would have to be the purple chiffon that I used in the cocktail dress I made previously but I have quite a lot of suitable black material.

Gene Marshall doll 3

I am not sure if I poses the tailoring skills for this one, look at the tiny buttons! I just love the details in this outfit, it is exquisite.

Sandra Stillwell produces fashion collections every year based on original designs and the dresses are not only beautifully made but amazingly photographed as well, all pictures from her website.

Gene Marshall doll 8

Since making some fab felt flowers orange and pink is one of my new favourite colour combinations.

Gene Marshall doll 7

Gene Marshall doll 6

Gene Marshall doll 5

These flowery ones remind me a lot of Liberty fabrics which of course I love, definitely a lot of Dior New Look happening here.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to afford one of the dolls as they are mainly only available from the US and are about £70 but for the meantime I can be inspired on a smaller scale for Barbie.

I just never knew any of this existed and find it fascinating, I loved playing with my Barbies when I was younger and have really enjoyed making all of the clothes for my cousins so am going to do some more both for them and some for me to keep.

Gene Marshall doll 2

I realised when choosing the pictures for this post that I have scraps of this fabric in the picture above in another colourway.

Wedding jacket

This is the silk that I made my sister in law Amanda’s wedding jacket from 4 years ago and she very kindly let me keep the scraps. I am thinking a bodice made from this would look lovely with a black velvet skirt. I might even be able to make a bolero as in the first outfit above.

All very exciting stuff and thanks inventors of the internet for access to all this wonder!

I will be back next week with, hopefully, pictures of the completed rabbit for Rosie, I have all constituent parts, just need a stuffing and sewing together session which will possibly happen this weekend.

Have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Post doctoral bliss

Much as I enjoyed doing the doctorate I am glad that it is finished. I am just waiting to have my final examination which will probably be in about 6 weeks time. Meanwhile I have been really enjoying having lots and lots of free time to do creative things and have been making some more Barbie clothes as Christmas presents.

I have been inspired by some amazing sites that I actually found during my research for 1940s fashion so will post about those separately. I bought a pattern for these latest dresses from this Etsy seller , excellent value at only £2.76 for a digital download of all of these lovely 80s style fashions.

Barbie dress pattern

 

I have made four dresses so far, two using the pink dress pattern in the top right for inspiration, minus the bottom ruffle and extending the length of the dress.

Barbie gowns 7

Barbie gowns 6

All fabric came from stash, I think the black and gold ones were originally from Kerry as they look like sample from her dress fabric for medieval gowns. I did buy the little roses.

Barbie gowns 8

The pattern was a little fiddly due to trying to finish seams that were only and inch long but very quick to make and I really enjoyed going through the stash to find all the gorgeous fabrics as I don’t usually make things with silk and velvet.

Barbie gowns 9

Barbie gowns 10

I am hoping that developing my skills with Barbie patterns will help me with making clothes for myself as I need to get better at using patterns generally. I have been watching lots of sewing sites and the answer seems to be to make mock ups or toiles of each pattern for fit.

I used the bodice pattern from the blue dress on the top right of the pattern and altered the skirt to make this lovely little cocktail dress.

Barbie gowns 1

The skirt is actually two layers, silk and chiffon, so it looks really pretty close up. I have enough silk left to make the coat on the bottom row to go with it.

Barbie gowns 2

The final dress was another cocktail dress, using up some of the velvet that I abandoned last year after trying to make a jacket for me. I paired it with some black silk for the top and some lace from my stash which I stitched on then embellished. I am very pleased with this one and think it looks really elegant.

Barbie gowns 3

Barbie gowns 4

Barbie gowns 5

I have lots more ideas for gowns so am hoping to get at least four more made before Christmas. I am also knitting, just finishing off a Little Cotton Rabbits bunny at the moment for my youngest great-niece’s birthday at the end of the month and working on a doll’s blanket for the local school. It is lovely to just sit and watch Netflix and work on these projects in the evenings with the candles lit 🙂

I hope that you have all had a lovely weekend and are going to have a good week ahead. Term is in full swing so I may not get much done before next weekend when lovely Kerry comes up for a bit of sewing!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Inspired by Marsden

There are many things that I love about Marsden, the moors and reservoirs that surround us, the lovely village with its river and canal, all of the entertainment here and my lovely friends but one of my favourite things is the random sheep we have wandering around the village.

I love the way they just meander across the roads, they have a particular favourite grazing spot on the mini roundabout at the bottom of the road and they stop the traffic regularly as they cross from there. They do think they own the place so I was pleased to make some more of my lovely inspired by Marsden sheep bags for Yarndale.

Yarndale 2019 8

I love stitching these, they take quite a long time to do but look cute. I only had time to make three this year but hopefully people will like the colours that I have chosen.

Yarndale 2019 7

Yarndale 2019 6

Yarndale 2019 5

I also made two pouches with felt flowers on, these are very quick to do and I can see more of these being made as gifts.

Yarndale 2019 4

Yarndale 2019 1

Yarndale 2019 3

Yarndale 2019 2

I have been having a very productive time making Christmas gifts including some haute couture for Barbie so when those are finally finished I will be able to post about them. I have bought an actual pattern and am hoping that by practising on Barbie size I might improve my own dressmaking skills. I am having fun anyway!

I hope that you have had a nice weekend, it has been lovely today and I have just been for a walk to the reservoir in the wonderful autumn sunshine. I have made a slow cooker stew for tea and a delicious sticky toffee banana cake so all is right with my little world 🙂

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Historic Scotland

We were staying quite a distance away from most of the National Trust for Scotland properties but did travel across to the other coast one day to visit the historic town of Culross.

We stopped for a cup of tea in a very cute little cafe and as I was looking out of the window I thought it looked familiar and I might have seen it in a film and turned round to see a signed picture from one of the stars of Outlander. I have really enjoyed this historical series, particularly looking at the costume, so I was really interested to hear about the locations that were used for the series.

The two pictures below show how the market square above was transformed for some of the scenes in one of the earlier seasons.

Scotland Culross_outlander

Scotland Culross-Outlander 2

The whole of the town is beautiful, there are such gorgeous cottages along winding streets leading up to the hill with views across the Firth of Forth.

We also visited Culross Palace, really a manor house rather than a place with amazing painted ceilings. No pictures were allowed inside so I only have ones from other travel sites.

Scotland Culross 12

Scotland Culross 11

Scotland Culross Palace

There was a gorgeous garden as well that goes all the way up to the hillside. There were some wonderful thistles and cardoons. The gardens were also used in the filming as they grow lots of traditional herbs there.

The most wonderful thing for me was that there is a Culross Needlework group who have been working on some gorgeous things to decorate the rooms. This picture is from the National Trust website.

Culross needlework - cloth

There were so many amazing examples of 17th and 18th century embroidery including sweet bags, pillows, pincushions, bed hangings and coverlets.

Sadly I have not been able to find many other pictures of their work apart from these few from the Trust website but there is an article about them here. They had also recreated one of mine and Ellen’s favourite pieces, the Layton jacket, which was in one of the bedrooms.

Scotland Culross_crewelwork_jacket_

Scotland Culross_detail_jacket_

With each piece there was information about the embroidery and the stitches used. It really made the place come alive and I hope it is something that the Trust encourages at other properties.

We also enjoyed a visit to Kilchurn Castle which stands in an amazing location at the end of a loch near where my friend lives. It was a gloomy and wet day when we visited but I can imaging the castle in all its glory and its location makes for some amazing photos.

We also met a lovely pair of Highland cows and had a chat to a photographer who works there taking amazing photos in all seasons.

Scotland 1 - Kilchurn 6

This is one of mine from across the loch through the rain in a very nice hotel where we had some tea and a chat to Jake all the way in Japan via the miracles of the internet.

Scotland 1 - Kilchurn 7

We ended our trip with a visit to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, which Ellen was particularly keen to see as they have built a box around it to preserve it from the weather. I love the Art Deco designs of Charles and Margaret Mackintosh and her wonderful artwork and embroidery.

A really excellent holiday combining all of my favourite things, camping, mountains, historic houses, needlework and of course family and friends. I will definitely be back soon!

Yarndale is taking place this weekend so hopefully Sharon and Sarah will have had a good time, I managed to make a few things for sale so I will be back in a while to post pictures of those. I am having a very relaxing and creative weekend. I was hoping to do a bit of walking but it has been so appallingly wet that I am quite content to stay in and watch the pouring rain from the comfort of my sewing room.

Hope you are all having a lovely time and are not too wet where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.